On this Lit Show, Nicholson Baker sits down with co-host Ben Mauk to discuss his new novel, House of Holes. Baker is the author of nine novels and four works of non-fiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle award.
Baker’s novels explore the experience of consciousness against the background of life’s flotsam and jetsam: buying shoelaces in The Mezzanine, feeding a six-month-old daughter in Room Temperature, and lighting a morning fire in A Box of Matches. These slim volumes pay loving attention to the domestic and quotidian, with whirligig sentences that have led the New York Times to describe Baker as “one of the most beautiful, original, and ingenious prose stylists to have come along in decades.”
But he may be better known for the bawdy fantasias of his sex “trilogy,” which includes the novels Vox, The Fermata, and most recently House of Holes: A Book of Raunch, which Slate described as “the extravagant, bravura performance of a writer as truly manically interested in craft as he is obsessed with sex.”
Baker’s eye for unconventional subjects and his idiosyncratic, ever-growing set of interests (he’s written about poetry and rhyme in his novel The Anthologist, the endangered paper culture in Double Fold, and pacifism during World War II in Human Smoke) make him perhaps the most unpredictable writer at work today.
Baker lives with his family in Maine. He is the Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor in the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and will give a free reading on Thursday, April 5th at 8:00 p.m. in the W151 auditorium of the Pappajohn Business Building.